Japanese LDP Energy Policy Translation

Japan Times just published an article on polling for the election coming up on December 16, and they expect the LDP to win. The current DPJ government will lose most of their seats. The main question will be if the LDP gains a majority not in need of a coalition partner.

That’s a good occasion to republish a partial translation I did of the section on energy in the LDP election platform document. The first time had some problems with sourcing which are now straightened out. The source is this publication of the full platform. I leave comments from me doubting that the LDP is “pro-nuclear” unchanged.

エネルギー政策の安全第一主義の徹底

東日本大震災による東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の事故は、その甚大な被害によってわが国だけではなく、全世界に放射能の脅威を示すこととなりました。

これまで原子力政策を推進してきたわが党は、このような事故を引き起こしたことに対してお詫びするとともに、今なお被災されている方々に対して心よりお見舞いを申し上げます。

 Insisting on the principle of “safety first” in energy policy

The accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant of TEPCO following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the extreme damages from it have shown the threat of radiation not only to Japan, but to the whole world.

Since our party has followed a pro-nuclear policy until now, we apologize for causing this accident, and express our deepest condolences to all those citizens who even now suffer from the catastrophe.

Doesn’t sound very “pro-nuclear” to me. Hang on, maybe the pro-nuclear part will come later. LDP Member of Parliament Kono remarks in a comment that this is the first time the LDP has apologized for its past pro-nuclear policy in a political platform paper.

 今後のエネルギー政策の根本に「安全第一主義」(テロ対策を含む)を据え、特に原子力政策に関しては、権限、人事、予算面で独立した規制委員会による専門的判断をいかなる事情よりも優先します。

We will place the principle of “safety first” (including safety against terrorist acts) at the core of our energy policy. Especially in regard to nuclear power policy, we will give priority to the expert decisions of a regulatory agency that is independent in its competences, its personnel decisions, and its budget over any other consideration.

当面のエネルギー政策

全てのエネルギーの可能性を徹底的に掘り起こし、社会・経済活動を維持するための電力を確実に確保するとともに、原子力に依存しなくても良い経済・社会構造の確立を目指します。

Short term energy policy

We will thoroughly dig out every possibility of energy, and will make sure of the energy supply needed for keeping up the society and economy, and at the same time aim for a structure of society and economy that is not dependent on nuclear power.

Still waiting for the “pro-nuclear” part. This sounds rather similar to what the current Japanese government decided in September.

そのため、当面の最優先課題として、3年間、再生可能エネルギーの最大限の導入、省エネの最大限の推進を図ります。

Therefore, as the most important task at hand, we will support renewable energy and energy efficiency for three years at the highest possible level. (Emphasis mine).

Sounds good to me, especially the part about supporting renewable.

原子力発電所の再稼働の可否については、順次判断し、全ての原発について3年以内の結論を目指します。安全性については、原子力規制委員会の専門的判断に委ねます。

The decision about restarting nuclear reactors will be done one at a time. We want to decide on all nuclear reactors within three years. In all questions regarding safety, we will follow the expert opinion of the Commission on regulation of nuclear energy.

なお、規制委員会により安全でないと判断された原発分については、太陽光や風力等の再生可能エネルギーの徹底的導入、省エネルギーの徹底的推進、環境負荷の少ないLNG火力発電所の立地推進、高効率石炭火力発電所の活用推進、産出国との交渉方法見直し等による化石燃料の調達コスト低減、電力会社間の電力融通、既存石炭火力の活用などによって当面必要なエネルギーを確保します。

For those nuclear reactors that the regulatory Commission decides to be unsafe, we plan to fill the gap with the following measures for the time being. Thoroughly support the deployment of solar and wind power and other renewables, support energy efficiency thoroughly, build gas power plants which have less environmental impact, support highly efficient coal power plants, lower the costs of buying fossil fuel by negotiations with the exporting countries, improve the grid connections between different utilities, use the existing coal power plants.

現在及び将来に責任の持てるエネルギー戦略の確立

中長期的エネルギー政策として、将来の国民生活に責任の持てるエネルギー戦略の確立に向け、判断の先送りは避けつつ、遅くとも10年以内には将来にわたって持続可能な「電源構成のベストミックス」を確立します。その判断に当たっては、規制委員会が安全だと判断する新たな技術的対応が可能か否か見極めることを基本にします。

Develop an energy strategy that is responsible now and for the future

In the middle and long term energy policy, we will work toward a energy strategy that is responsible to the future life of the citizens. While we will avoid delaying decisions, we will establish at the latest in ten years a best energy mix that is sustainable in the future. When taking these decisions, we will distinguish if new technology deemed safe by the regulatory commission can be adopted or not.

There is more in the policy platform document, it follows up with a section on prices of electricity. But as far as I can see the position of the LDP on nuclear is quite close to that of the current Japanese government. The LDP as well wants to get to a society not dependent on nuclear energy.

That’s a large shift from previous LDP policy, so it may take some time until Western media gets this right. Having the LDP actually apologize for causing the Fukushima accident should be big news.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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